Since minimum flows for all streams and minimum levels for all
lakes are part of the state water use plan, no permit is granted
for any proposed water use that would cause stream flows or lake
levels to fall below the prescribed minimums.
Permits are granted for up to 20 years with the duration of the
permit based on a reasonable system of classification according
to source of supply, type of water use or both. However, the
typical permit u-am*t5y is for seven years. The regulatory agency
may issue a permit for up to 50 years in du ation to a
municipality or governmental body requiring such a period to
provide for retirement of bonds for const auction of waterworks
and waste-disposal facilities.
The Structure of Water Management In Florida
All waters of the state are subject to regulation under the
permit system. Only domestic uses are exempt from regulation,
including water for individual personal needs or for household
purposes such as drinking, bathing, heating, cooking or
sanitation. A simplified permit application procedure is
available for applicants who request smaller quantities of water.
The state is divided into five water management districts based
largely upon topographic, hydrological, geological and water shed
concerns. Each district is governed by a nine-member board
appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the
state senate. Appointees must be from diverse geographical areas
within the district.
Each district may be sub-divided into basins controlled by a
three or more member board responsible for the planning and
approval of the construction of primary water resource
development projects and secondary water control facilities
within their jurisdictions. Overall responsibility rests with
the district governing board.
The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation has
supervisory authority over water management districts and has
clear direction to delegate authority to the districts to the
maximum extent possible.
The creation of districts and basins enhances the concept of
regional control of regional resources and is based on the theory
that those closest to the problem area best understand the
As the state water regulatory agency, the Department of
Environmental Regulation is required to formulate an integrated,
coordinated program for the use and development of the waters of
the state. Expressed in relatively broad goals and concepts,
this state water policy has become the touchstone for all the
districts. Each district must bring its rules into conformity
with the general principles expressed in the policy, and each
applicant for a permit must establish that the proposed water use
is consistent with the provisions of the state water policy.
Each district levies and spends ad valorem taxes, but some are
also funded in part by state general revenue funds. In addition,
each district gets a portion of documentary stamp taxes for use
in land acquisition under the Save Our River Program.
Each district is required to formulate a plan for implementation
during periods of water shortage.